May 27, 2019
By Rodger Stockton
The Armslist Media Crew recently attended the Palmetto State Armory https://palmettostatearmory.com/ manufacturer/media event at High Bar Homestead in Gillette, WY. https://www.highbarhomestead.com/
I was prepared for an enjoyable weekend in the Wyoming foothills with Palmetto State Armory’s team members showing us their products. With fervor I got my gear packed to head west. Minutes after the High Bar crew picked us up at baggage claim, we were rolling down a dirt packed graded road past mule deer and antelope and free ranging beef cattle. I quickly realized that this would be quite a bit more intense than what I had been expecting. The Crew chief, Tex, and his team, Chris, Kelsey, Jeff and, JJ, took care of everything from arrival to drop off at the departure gate in Gillette.
Chad Wylie and his Palmetto State Armory team brought a lot of their rifles and plenty of ammunition for us to work with each day.
The first morning at the High Bar after a hot cowboy breakfast, we set out for the 100 yard flat range where we sat through our first safety brief which was all encompassing and gave specific detailed rules and regs to ensure everyones’ safety. Because of the remote mountainous location it takes nearly an hour for air medevac to arrive. I mention Chris and his initial safety brief because it gave everyone the impression that the High Bar Crew were intent on keeping all of us safe during all the stages. Jeff ran each stage as OIC and kept us all aware of specific range rules at each new stage we encountered. Kelsey also had a real sense of anticipating potential problems and was very proactive around trigger discipline and muzzle awareness.
Shooting at a range with a group of shooters can be a very stressful and mentally exhausting experience due to the destructiveness of the tools being used. It became quickly apparent that we would be prepared for whatever happened so long as we stuck to the safety brief.
The chaos of rounds going downrange and steel clanging from end to end of the targets being engaged is so gratifying and fulfilling that it puts you in a much sought after place. As participants in this event, we were each given plenty of time behind their new AKV chambered in 9mm and stuffed with Scorpion magazines. I think everyone who shot the AKV wanted to add one to their collection. The Palmetto team also brought along some AKP’s , 6.5 Creedmoor’s, .224 Valkyrie’s, 6.5 Grendel, PCC 9mm, .458 Socom and the 6.8 SPCII.
After all the guns are stowed in their racks for the night, Tex and crew keep on working to produce more of the High Bar experience in the form of delicious and plentiful meals. The custom butchered Pork Chops and Steaks are actually bigger than any I have ever seen and the homemade desserts keep coming for those who have room for it.
The Low Country Boil is a fan favorite, I like mine with a Wyoming Whiskey Manhattan. Every manner of potato, corn cob, #6-8 shrimp, mushrooms, pineapple, garlic, brussel sprouts and sausage steamed over an open flame in Tex’s special herbs and spices and gloriously dumped out on the expansive standup kitchen counter for all to enjoy. No one goes hungry at High Bar. A complete and unending bar is the focus of after dinner conversations. Wine, cocktails, bourbon, whiskey and scotch made for a relaxing evening. We had the added benefit of having PSA’s Marketing Manager Logan Richardson at the event, keeping the drinks topped off and the conversation lively.
As big as the daytime sky is in Wyoming, the night time skies are filled to overflowing with all the constellations and Kelsey can point out Orions belt or Capricorn if you need some help navigating the heavens. As it happened on our night stargazing a 300 mile long linear procession of very bright stars progressed from south to north above our position. It made quite a stir as none of us knew what we were observing other than the fact that we were sure no one had ever witnessed anything like it. Turns out Elon Musk had launched his 60 satellites the day before for his StarLInk project and we were watching them get into their pre deployment pattern.
No operation of this size is complete without a Boss and HighBar is no exception. Boss is a 100 lb pure bred Black Lab with over 3000 retrieves under his paws. Boss is the calm in the storm. He’s always nearby to welcome you back to the lodge but never underfoot.
Chad and Logan have created the Palmetto State Armory One Mile Challenge Club for this one mile range in Wyoming. Quigley’s Rig is the 200-2,000 yard range marked by a 1961 GMC 2.5 ton flatbed as a shooters platform. There is an elevation delta of 300 feet to the target on top of the ridge. There are four other vintage 50’s and 60’s farm trucks with shooting positions in their beds. I’m not sure how many folks have managed to pull this feat off but I know we punched 7 more members into the club early in the morning on the day of our departure. I was blessed with low winds in the canyon and my challenge coin is Number 10.
We were shooting the PA Freedom Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor 20 inch barrel, with a Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 optic. We were told this rifle and optic combo is available for purchase for around $1,100.00 from PSA. https://palmettostatearmory.com/ Anyone who can punch the steel silhouette at 5,280 ft is given a gold colored challenge coin and their name goes on the plaque in the Palmetto State Armory Boardroom wall.
We worked our way up to the 5,280 ft range by bore sighting the new rifles and getting them sighted in on the high power range at distances ranging from 200 - 1000 yards to get comfortable with the various rifles and calibers. If you didn’t spend some quality time behind one of the camo clad 2.44 Valkyrie’s it was your own fault. There were at least 3 of them to enjoy out to 1000 yards with plenty of spotters helping you to get on steel.
As with any experience in life, it is the people you meet and relationships you build that are most valuable. If I am ever lucky enough to rekindle any of the bonds of friendship formed during my stay at High Bar Homestead it will certainly be my good fortune.
If you are into spectacular mountain vistas and vintage trucks, big dogs, great food and fellowship, you need to put High Bar Homestead on your list of places to experience. Oh yeah and you will also be able to engage some of the over 2000 steel targets placed and painted for your shooting pleasure.
My thanks to Palmetto State Armory for giving me the opportunity to enjoy their quality offerings in a classic western setting like High Bar Homestead.